30th Birthday prep

Each envelope was made from a sheet of a map - often with the street of the recipient where they were locals!
Each envelope was made from a sheet of a map – often with the street of the recipient where they were locals!
Crazy cropping so I dont share my address with you!
Crazy cropping so I dont share my address with you!
White dinner 214
The front of the invite
White dinner 213
Some of the inside cropped for my safety :p
my FAVE flowers - test run. BTW, two bunches for the price of one I realised once I got home
my FAVE flowers – test run. BTW, two bunches for the price of one I realised once I got home
Heart punch to make a mini set of bunting
Heart punch to make a mini set of bunting
Off to the mailbox!
Off to the mailbox!

Candy Cane Wreath

It’s not perfect, but I’m proud of it!  I found the link to Millionayre’s blog through Lois at LivingSimplyFree‘s wonderful round ups of Christmas craft.  Hot glue gun + a cut up Chinese plastic food container lid + almost 40 candy canes ($4 from the dollar store).  And a late night on Thursday night:

Crafty Thursday
Crafty Thursday

On the same night, I prepared some gingerbread dough.  A friend is coming around soon, and we’ll make it into a house (houses?) and then decorate.  What a great idea, right, when we were ‘just’ going to go out for dinner.  I love having someone to help me with this little task – I’ve been putting it off for a few weeks, but this kicked me into action.  I’ll (of course) post some photos in due course too.

Decorating with birdcages

When I was a teenager, I had a fascination with ornamental birdcages.  At the time, I was working in a florist, and I swooned at the lovely rustic birdcage my boss had in stock.  When Christmas came around, she wisely wrapped it up with a big bow and presented it to me.  I still have it, 13 years later (it’s to the far right in the photo below)!  Over the years, I started to seek out more birdcages.  Interestingly, they became more and more of a decor item.  Suddenly, they seemed to be everywhere!  At the height of my collection I had seven ornamental birdcages!

Birdcages in a floristry display
Birdcages in a floristry display

In 2011, I started to consider moving out of my parents home to buy my own place.  I also became a regular reader of the forums at Unclutterer.com and reading Colleen’s blog 365 Less Things  I started to question the wisdom of “collections”.  When I asked the common clutter questions, I came up short.  They weren’t functional.  And I didn’t love every bird cage.  I didn’t actively try to declutter them, but when someone asked on freecycle for ornamental birdcages, i was ready to share my ‘less favourites’.  I bundled up three birdcages that I didn’t love, and made this woman’s day.

That left me with three birdcages at my house, and one at my parents house.  My home doesn’t have a lot of flat surfaces for ‘displaying’ things, so for 16 months, I’ve moved birdcages around, trying to put them somewhere where they’ll be enjoyed, but not getting in the road with functionality of things around them (the TV, lamps, other things on shelves).  It just wasn’t working.  So I decided I’d go ‘up’!  I had a corner of my living room that was a little ‘dead’.  It had never really worked, and I decided it needed something to ‘jazz’ it up.

An empty corner, waiting to be filled
An empty corner, waiting to be filled

As you can see above, there’s definately not much happening in this neck of the woods, err living room.  After extensive consultation with Mr DIY (a close friend… who has a drill,  I don’t), we decided we’d use a wooden bar between the two walls, and then attach cuphooks to the underside.  Then with some chains leftover from the floristry display, I could hang my beloved three birdcages.

Not so empty corner - birdcage delight
Not so empty corner – birdcage delight

As you can see, it’s certainly changed up that corner! It seems less barren and empty. Interestingly, I’ve had this idea for about a year or more, but it might seem like I’ve been inspired by my all time favourite DIY bloggers at Young House Love – see this post for what I mean. This is one item I am ever so pleased to get off my ‘house to do list’!

Ways I ‘spend’ money

In response/reflection to the Ways I ‘save’ money post I wrote yesterday, I thought I’d look at the luxuries/vices that I do in fact ‘waste’ my money on!

  • take away coffee:  It always seems (nowdays) to be a bonding/social thing.  I’ll buy it on weekends with my father or my bf.  I’ll buy it when I’m working overtime (also on weekends).  I’ll seldom buy a take away coffee alone, at least not in the last 6-9 months.
At least I use my KeepCup - brown lid, yellow brand - from my work's previous brandsource:www.keepcup.com
At least I use my KeepCup – brown lid, yellow brand – from my work’s previous brand
  • eating out: As identified in my Glaring Grocery discovery post, whilst my grocery bill is small, as a percentage of my income, I must surely be spending a lot on eating out.  Now my ‘two meals cooked at home’ a week goal is tracking where I eat EVERY dinner, I’ll soon see patterns, and perhaps adjust accordingly.
  • taxis: When I grew up, I never ever caught a taxi, but then again, I was a child and my parents drove us around!  It did mean that I didn’t ‘think’ about taxis til I was about 22, and moved to a not so nice suburb, and thought the better of walking home after a night class.  Drinking lots was not a reason (back then).  Nowdays, I’ll use a taxi if I’m feeling too ill to walk home, it’s too hot/cold/wet, after drinking.  The fares are almost always less than $20, and seeing I don’t own a car, I feel like the cost is OK.
  • over paying my taxes: I do this to avoid a bill, but also cause I like the (usually) 4 figure cash injection in the winter months, especially for my next ‘spend’ category.
  • international holidays: As a child of world roaming parents, I almost consider travelling a ‘normal’ thing.  Therefore, I usually save up for a trip overseas each year – in Australia’s winter and the Northern hemisphere’s summer.  Nothing planned for this year, but a brief thought of Christmas in the snowy parts of the US.
  • home wares: since the start of 2012, I’ve owned my own home, so I drop a fair amount of coin on ‘stuff’ for it – less so now, though the post Christmas sales saw me buy a few big ticket items I’d been thinking about all year.
  • house modifications: 2012 was a big year for costs outsourcing projects in my home such as painting, bath resurfacing, light rewiring, additional security bars, re-carpeting.  There’s still some lingering tasks I’d like to get done this year too, see my House List for more details.

Writing this list made me think of more ways I ‘save’ money, which is interesting.  Seems I really have the saving (or spending adverse) mentality instilled in a lot of different facets of my life.  How to splurge?  What are your vices?

What I list about…

So here’s a snapshot (sanitised) of my current lists (that I have in electronic form):

– To do: broken into categories: work; day off; awaiting; long term

– BF’s to do list: things he keeps talking about…

– Be more generous: tracking ways I’ve been generous – moving that to this blog currently, in my monthly tracking

– Songs at end 2012: lists the songs I like on the radio/want to download

– Graffiti’d assets: This is a running list of work assets I see when on ‘down’ time that need graffiti attended to.  Bit of a weird habit!

– To google: For sites I can’t access with work’s blocks – weirdly this doesn’t get added to much at all, maybe I don’t need to ‘list’ it anymore

– Holidays (v1): Friends who live out of town that I should go and visit

– Holidays (v2): (predominantly) international destinations I’d like to visit (with time frames on what year and time of year)

– Events/Acitivites: date and other ideas to do with the BF (shush he doesn’t know I list this!)

– Big spending plans: born out of weeks where you could spend 10x you pay cheque and stress out, I just list all the money I plan/want/need to spend in the future – on things like income protection, insurance, funeral plans etc

– Dinner invites: Friends and family I really must invite around, who haven’t yet seen my ‘new’ (year old) place

– Grocery pricing: tracks  costs of regularly bought items at various stores

– Future decluttering: Things I need to get rid of, or are thinking might be on their way out (I need to improve on GETTING THINGS GONE!)

– Decluttered 2012: I was vaguely seeing if I decluttered more than 365 things.  Woeful.  I didn’t.  Keep in mind, I was equipping a house, so it’s not entirely bizarre to think I didn’t get rid of a lot!  There’s 115 line items, but some have multiples, so I’d say there were about 165 things.  But then I also include things that went in trash (which makes me feel uncomfortable), things I returned to stores etc.

– One day jobs: once a huge list that had everything I wanted to around my apartment.  I’m incredibly pleased with my progress!

– Gift ideas: for the BF

– Dimensions: of spaces and things in my apartment, so I know if a wine rack or photo frame fits

– Foods I don’t prefer: wow this list is long… I mean most food I will eat, but I use the ‘dislikes’ to narrow down ordering food out and choosing recipes

– Foods I love to order: this reminds me of the fail safe loves of food (even if they are unhealthy!)

– Countries I’ve visited: a simple count of all the places I’ve been lucky enough to visit in my so far short life

– Clothing likes and dislikes: this list was born out of shopping frustration (and a hot summer in classes in France!), and is rather detailed!

– Adventures: those crazy ‘sports’ that I’d like to do (incl sky diving and the like)

– Things that make me happy: to pull me out of a funk or brighten a day, it’s nice to revisit this list.  I started it in 2002 I think, on coloured bits of paper, and allowed myself positive and negatives on different sheets.  Over time, I’ve chosen to keep the positive ones only.

There’s a few other lists, that really, I shouldn’t have or I should ‘hide’ better (than being on Gtasks which syncs to my phone), mainly relationship-y stuff…  I also write paper lists at work, for ‘things to do tomorrow’ and the like.  I also write paper lists for myself.  Sometimes it feels better to cross things off…  And get through the MAMMOTH pile of one sided printed paper my work generates.

I think I’m willing to elaborate on lists, should any spark your interest, let me know!